How Oranje can beat Belarus

This coming away game vs Belarus could well be the one cementing our spot at the Euros 2020.

What a new sensation that will be. Talisman Memphis Depay will not be there to guide us. The Lyon forward with the dazzling stats has a hamstring scare in his thigh and decided to let this one go. Koeman: “It’s not good. He simply can’t play. It’s not a serious injury but we can’t risk it.”

And despite the importance of the former Sparta talent in previous games, we all think that Oranje should be able to beat Belarus without him, as we do have enough goals in the team anyway.

On Sunday, we’ll be playing against the sturdy and rugged Belarussians and against the pitch. Koeman decided not to train in the stadion to protect the pitch as it is in pretty bad shape. “October is typically a month where more rainfall and colder temperatures affect the circumstances here,” Koeman knew.

We might also be playing against ourselves again, as we did against Northern Ireland. Ronald Koeman has been able to repair the issues again, as he did before, but the former Everton coach admitted after the match that when the Northern Irish scored, he didn’t think a win was possible. He also gave credit to assistant coach Kees van Wonderen as he was the one who suggested some changes. Apparently, former Feyenoord captain Van Wonderen is focusing on Oranje’s play without the ball while Dwight Lodeweges focuses on Oranje with the ball. Van Wonderen found the subtle changes needed to regain control, last Thursday.

Koeman will need to find a replacement for Memphis and it’s not likely that he’ll start with Luuk de Jong. Sure, the Sevilla striker broke the deadlock for us but bringing him into the starting line up will mean Koeman foregoes Plan A and goes straight to Plan B. I don’t think he will.

He will either use Promes in the striker role (as the former Ajax talent did for Spartak Moscow and Sevilla) and keep Babel on the left, enabling him to bring Malen off the bench as impact player. Or he will bring Babel to the centre in Memphis spot and start with Malen on the left flank, rewarding the former Arsenal talent for his wonderful turns in Orange.

Ronald Koeman might not change much more. As Koeman isn’t one to change quickly. “I don’t have a lot of time before matches to try out different things. These qualification games are played to win. Not to try out stuff, or to experiment or to give another player a chance. We are playing these games to qualify and once we qualified, another situation starts. People who know me, know I won’t be changing for the sake of change. I trust the core group we have and I also look at – what I call – couples. It’s never about one player vs another player. It’s about the specific qualities of a player in combination with his team mates. That whole De Roon – Van de Beek discussion for instances. It’s rubbish, but it’s what the media do. I don’t mind, but I am not playing along. For starters, I don’t want to take the coupling of Memphis and Wijnaldum apart. So these two are in the team. Frenkie is a midfielder who wants to dribble and who wants to find space to roam into. With him, I simply want the other midfielder to hold the space. De Roon is very disciplined like this, like Propper. Propper is also a very good passer of the ball, while De Roon is better in the personal duels. Van de Beek however, is a different player. He also wants to penetrate and run forward. I can’t have this with Frenkie exposed. It is that simple.”

People here think Nathan Ake could be a better alternative than Blind. Could be. There is no evidence that he will. Ake is a strong header of the ball and a good defender. Blind is not a strong header of the ball, but a tremendous passer of the ball. Here we are comparing apples with pears. Blind is in the team, also because he is used to playing alongside Mathijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong (and Donny van de Beek or Promes should they play). That coupling, as Koeman calls it, is important for the coach.

Stefan de Vrij is seen as a top defender in Italy and the media there can’t understand why he doesn’t play. But Koeman will not bench De Ligt for one bad touch, and select De Vrij. Because if he does this, Koeman will have to be changing the team constantly.

So, Koeman is not going to replace Blind for Ake “because that could work”. Or De Vrij for De Ligt. That is not good enough. Blind is the experienced defender who has played most matches since 2014 and that experience will not be foregone by Koeman because he made an error. I think we only had one player in Oranje who hasn’t made an obvious error. That is Frenkie de Jong. De Ligt had a number of howlers.  Virgil van Dijk had one vs France (Giroud’s goal) and so has Dumfries, Babel and all others. Koeman will not replace a player for making a mistake. Football is a game of mistakes. Koeman will replace players only if an alternative has been significantly better for games on end than the existing player.

Now Koeman has to replace Memphis. This will probably make the odds that De Roon doesn’t play smaller. Koeman doesn’t like to change much. I do hope Dumfries will make way for Promes as wing back. Against Belarus (and Northern Ireland) we really don’t need a fourth defender. The space will be limited so Dumfries will not be able to play to his strength.

I would go for the following line up:


Promes – De Ligt – Van Dijk – Blind

Van de Beek – Frenkie de Jong – Wijnaldum

Bergwijn – Babel – Malen

Although I do think Koeman will play De Roon and start with Van de Beek from the bench. Wijnaldum will be #10, but with Memphis missing, I would opt for Wijnaldum in his Liverpool role as holding mid and Van de Beek behind the striker on #10.

The former Barca centre back said recently he does like to have options on the bench to bring in, so if Malen starts, I think Van de Beek will be used as impact player.

Tell me how you would want to see it?

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  1. I saw many comments about Stengs and Koopmeiners and that Koeman needs to include them into Oranje. I think Koeman will not do that for EUro2020. HOwever, for Qatar, it could be a possibility. I will include Myron here too. Very proud of AZ contingent in Oranje under 21!

    1. not sure about Koopmeiners as we already have enough central midfielders.

      If Stengs keep improving constantly and Koeman still don’t bring him to Euro2020 that would be a big mistake.

      Stengs is a pure right winger, which is exactly the position that we lack people. ( I think Kluivert is one level lower than Stengs as he only scores 1 goal in 20+ games)

      If Koeman doesn’t bring Stengs to the world cup, but still rely on Luuk and Berghuis, then our chances in the World cup will be dramatically lowered.

  2. Well if thats the case then we know what too expect and also this is nothing new about dutch coaches with respect to sticking with the the core team. Van Marwjik-2012,van gaal – 2014,Danny Blind-2016 and now koeman.what conclusions are you suppose to derive from this. Is it working and again You can learn alot from the nation league final where koemam tatically tried to do the same thing.he summoned luuk,VD Beek and Promes but they failed to make any impact. You look at the 90s and early 2000s, the approach was totally different contray to what we are seeing now. were they sticking to the core of players meaning the same starting 11. Its just a wait and see game whether koeman will end up in the same boat or no,as other who followed the same not just about understanding what the coach is trying to do but also realizing whats in the best intresting of the team. Koeman doesnt have a proven record so there will always be question mark surrounding him. From a netural pespective off couse. Also what he is doing also doesnt seems like its in the best intrest of the team. My conclusion thus far based on whats transpiring. The team has definitely matured ahead of time and they are staying to slide down on the side of the curve.


    “People here think Nathan Ake could be a better alternative than Blind. Could be. There is no evidence that he will. Ake is a strong header of the ball and a good defender. Blind is not a strong header of the ball, but a tremendous passer of the ball. Here we are comparing apples with pears. Blind is in the team, also because he is used to playing alongside Mathijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong (and Donny van de Beek or Promes should they play). That coupling, as Koeman calls it, is important for the coach.”

    This is very poor man especially when Ajax is being dominated by foreigners. If it was AZ Alkmaar or PSV it would have been legit but Ajax, how can this be justified. Im sick and tired of listening that he has better experience that why he there. What experience did Malen and Groeneveld have? Its totally ridiculous, I can bet and write this down somewhere when stengs will arrive on the NT stage like malen and groeveneld, koeman will tell berghuis just move aside for a little while and he will become a forgotten man. He wont say anything about experience.

    Looks like a few has turned into a a group, but either way

  3. I think Stengs will make it into the Euro squad. Koopmeiners is a question mark for me. Midfielder at the highest level (not AZ) is a tough job. Wijnaldum was top in Holland with Feyenoord and PSV but still needed a season at Newcastle and his first at Liverpool to really become world class.

    Propper is better than Koopmeiners and he still is only playing for Brighton and not a starter for Oranje.

    Stengs is the real deal though.

    Boadu will be more a WC prospect. He’s still young.

    1. You always got it all Jan! good analysis, and I feel the similar way.

      Whether Stengs is the “real deal” or not , also depends if he 1) keeps improving constantly and gets significantly stronger 2) his physical ability 3) injury free

      Boadu – correct. he is still too young. same as Joshua Zirkzee and DAishawn Redan and (or) the guy in Lazio (forgot his name Adekanya?)

      1. Adekanyes chances look doesnt look like Inzaghi will give him much playing time. Immobile is in almighty form and Correa has been a good shadow striker behind him.

    2. i think our spots are
      6 forwards
      6 midefield and
      8 defenders
      3 Gk..
      6Forwards must be
      Where Depay,Babel and Malen are strikers as well..With Dilrosen,kluivert,Redan ,Boadu as stand bye…
      6 Midfeilders
      Dejong,Wijnaldum,De beek,Ake,Propper,koopmeiners.
      8 Defenders

      1. no need of de roon when u have koopmeiners
        no need of strooman when u have Ake and Propper..
        no need of Luuk when u have MAlen,Depay and Babel.
        Blind should play as LCB as plays for Ajax..if he plays as LB then Ake desreves as DM..Ake is actual DM..Since he was so good at back he was moved there..Exactly like Blind..who is good at DM,LB,and LCB,He is best at LCB..

  4. Re: Blind and Wilson

    Not sure what you mean with Ajax is dominated by foreigners? Last season, you had De Ligt, Mazraoui, De Jong, Eijting, Ekkelenkamp, Van de Beek, Huntelaar, Ziyech, Tadic, Blind…

    I know Tadic and Ziyech and Mazra play for other nations but they’re considered Football Dutchies. Tadic started his career in Holland, properly, and Ziyech and Mazra were born in Holland. Speak Dutch, eat Dutch, etc.

    And how is the foreign domination argument an argument?? It’s still a fact that in Koeman’s world, Blind, De Ligt, Promes and Frenkie have a known dynamic.

    Blind is key in build up (not in defending, ok). Ake will not be that key. Ake will be better as a defender. But Blind is LB and Ake is not really a LB.

    I think Wilson, that you hate Danny and Daley Blind. For the wrong reasons. And you will make any argument to kick them out a logical argument with weird statements.

    1. The skill set of tadic,Neres ,Ziyech are not in NT to serve promes on the plate and to find him easy touches which makes him currently look profilic at Ajax. why do you think he didnt hit the ground rolling at Sevilla.

      Nor blind was active at LB if you are considering last seasons play. It would have being legit if De ligt and Blind would have side by side playing together in NT but thats not the case. Van Dijk is along side him and infront of him it keeps changing. To consider this as coupling would be out of context. If its indeed the case then it means Blind can play anywhere.isnt it. I mean DM,CB or wingback.

      Its just a matter of time when somebody will really put up competition to Blind. Even if van annholt gets the nod, it will settle the dust. That what Im waiting for long time to he copes up with competition.

      1. Wilson, did you ever play football? Or any team sport?

        If a player trains every day with 4 or 5 other players at his club and plays with them, this means there is a thorough understanding. This cannot be copied by a lad who only sees the others two days every two months.

        Blind has had competition. Vilhena and Van Aanholt played left back in Oranje. Koeman (and others before him) always revert back to Daley Blind.

        You should read what Ten Hag says about Blind.

        I think you focus too much on the ball and what the ball is doing. Try to focus on players, on movement, on positioning and passing.

        This will show you suddenly why Blind is revered by Van Gaal, De Boer, Koeman, Blind and Hiddink. Recently, Wim Kieft and Arsene Wenger also lauded the Ajax man.

        Or do you still think that you understand the game better than Van Gaal, De Boer, Ten Hag, Hiddink, Wenger and Koeman? Just checking….

  5. Sometimes things just don’t go the way you want them. An off day or whatever you want to call it. They didn’t play the best game but a couple of heavy touches could’ve been better and we could’ve been 2 up. I’m not expecting an easy game in a few hours either. Ugly pitch and 11 players behind the ball. I trust Koeman. We’ve played some really good games under him. I’m expecting a win no matter the starting 11.

  6. One name is not mentioned here at all, but it should be:

    Mo Ihattaren. There is no bigger talent today than him (PSV) and he plays on the #10 position.

    Emanuel / Tiju is making some good calls.

    My 23 (at this point):

    Depay, Malen, Stengs, Bergwijn, Luuk de Jong, Danjuma…

    Frenkie De Jong, Wijnaldum, Van De Beek, Propper, Ihattaren, Promes

    Blind, De Ligt, Van Dijk, Karsdorp, De Vrij, Ake, Van Aanholt, Dest

    Vermeer, Cillessen, Zoet

      1. Hi Faraz, I know you did, but in the past days I mean, since Young Oranje played, I hear Koopmeiners a lot, and he is good, but Ihattaren is from another planet!

  7. 22 mins gone and not much happening. We have placed over 1 million passes without much speed. I hope we let Belarus score early so can wake up and get some sense of urgency.
    deLigt needs to be replaced ASAP. I smell another blunder in his account.

  8. We still try to play in very tight spaces and walk the ball into the goal. Shoot the damn ball. We should be 4 up now for all this ball possession. And I repeat deLigt needs to come out. He seems to have regressed badly.

  9. I wouldn’t mind seeing de Ligt subbed off for de Vrij. I think maybe with his big move and constant place in the Holland side de Ligt may be getting a bit big-headed. He’s playing like he can’t do anything wrong, and then getting it all wrong. Getting subbed might be a good wake-up call.

  10. Belarus scores. de Ligt lets his man go, leaving van Dijk with 2. van Dijk covers the wrong one and the simplest of finishes.

    de Ligt having a very poor game.

      1. There’s 2 players in the box, 2 CB’s. That’s one each. de Ligt wandering to the edge of the box while a cross is being hit did nothing except leave van Dijk alone.

        1. there was 3 players arrived to recieve the ball Deligt was with 1 st one..Virgil was with another one..suddenly an unmarked 3rd man between virgila got confused whom will he he moved towards newly arrived 3rd happens at to level cannot blame much on deligt,Vigril also can be excused considering the scene..

  11. Just as I predicted it is 1-2 now. The way we playing I wouldn’t be surprised if they tie the game. Prepare for some nervy 35 minutes. Game isn’t over.

  12. Why can’t we make it easy and put a game to sleep early? Against a piss poor team? I just don’t get it.
    Our back is getting wide open to counter attacks and they will score again if we don’t make amends.

  13. As i said before
    Koeman answer all question about van de beek and malen in this game. They both showed nothing. But also pitch was too bad. Nobody can run good. They defence with 11 men and it was hard for de beek and malen to find way to penerate.

  14. In tonight match it is another experience for the young players.
    Though we did not showed the classic but i do think it is good to give Ronald Koeman some homework.
    Can’ t imagine Frankie De Jong combo with Calvin Stengs. That can be very interesting.

    Hup Holland Hup 🙂

  15. In my view player rating:
    Cilessen 5
    Veltman 5.5
    De ligt 4
    Van dijk 6
    Blind 4.5
    F. De jong 7.5
    De beek 5.5
    Wijnaldum 8.5
    Promes 6.5
    Bergwijn 6
    Malen 5.5
    Luck de jong 5.5
    De roon 6.5
    Babel —

      1. Blind has two or three wrong passes and if belarus player was brave he can score ine of them. Also he really didnt any positive thing in attack. Veltman was really in mid class. He is not good for dutch. U gays say he is good because dumfries pkay awful. Veltman is too slow to play as right defence.

        1. Veltma looks good coz Dumfries was that crap..Howvere i trust dumfries in defense to contain Mbhaee types..if Veltman marks mbhapee,veltman will get REDCArd for sure..

  16. I don’t know if van de Beek and wijnaldum can play together, they are both attack minded and can’t really defend. De Jong can’t control the midfield himself, he was the MOTM for me, great job tonight, other than a few times he was picked

  17. I read Jan’s comments and what Koeman is thinking. I agree on some of the things Koeman says but I do not agree with everything.

    I do understand the fact that this is a very competitive environment and there isn’t much room for errors and experimentation. In the past, national teams played a lot of friendlies. Now with the introduction of the Nations League, everyone is playing to win, or not to lose. It is good to play for something meaningful with a nice silverware in the end, instead of meaningless friendlies but now all of a sudden, coaches are also under a lot of pressure. Every game even against lowly ranked teams counts because the goal differentials could come back to haunt them if they are drawn in a competitive group.

    I’m sure Koeman must have felt very nervous when N.Ireland scored first because it was very possible that the whole qualification process was under threat if that result had held.

    It was another 3 points in the bag today with the win over Belarus. He has a solid core of players to work with but I do feel like he still has to consider rotating some of his players. At the end of the day, he shouldn’t develop favorites and every player has an equal and fair chance to make the team based on merits.

  18. There is a reason why Germany never misses a tournament . They take care if little teams without much stress while we oftentimes either screw up or make things difficult. There was no reason for us to have this close score against a bottom of the barrel team. We had no speed whatsoever, multiple times when we could catch Belarus on a break we slowed down into millions of short passes. And regardless how important F deJong is for this team he often over dribbles and slows down an attack. And deLigt should be benched , period. And the stubbornness of Koeman about using certain players no matter how good they perform will catch up with him one day.

    1. Frenkie has got that barca sydrome,passing sydrome,endless dribbles with endless passes without goals against tough teams…while Ajax was direct and joy to watch..
      Frenkie is having tiki FUKAAA syndrome i feel.
      ajax frenkie vs Barca tiki FUKK frenkie is teh difference i feel..

  19. Depay is the New Roben..We are depend on him…
    May be Malen and stengs together fill the void…if these two cannot i dont think any other are capable of filling the void..

  20. Bergwijn,promes and babel are very similar type of wingers. they have speed but are not typical first time finishers. its obvious now all are playing in depays shadow. groeneveld should be recalled if he is fit. either of Dilrosun or stengs could also bring something different. malen should be given more minutes or have him start with depay.

    1. Berjwin is too much dribbles,i like promes more,promes is more threat..when i remmber kuyt who cannot even dribble pass a school kid has alyed so many years for dutch due to work rate..when we got berjwin i thought we got dribbler with workrate..
      Berjwin should be down the order after Danjuma,stengs,Noa lang,Ihatteren,Promes and Babel..

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